Stamp Out Hunger collects 40 tons of food

ELKHART — The annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive was a rousing success in Elkhart County, organizers announced this week.

The national event, the biggest single-day food drive in the country, calls for residents to set nonperishable food items in bags in or beside their mailboxes for postal workers to collect.

The food drive is organized locally by the United Way of Elkhart County. This is the 24th year Elkhart County has participated in the letter carriers’ food drive.

This year, 80,000 pounds of food were donated by Elkhart County residents, 40 tons directly benefitting 12 pantries across the county.

That’s up 12,300 pounds from the amount collected last year, according to Keith Sarber, vice president of community impact for United Way.

“This year’s drive was fantastic,” Sarber said. “I know the community of Elkhart County saw the need and responded in a significant way. Would I have liked to see more food raised? Sure. 100,000 pounds? Absolutely, but 40 tons of food will go a long way toward feeding people in Elkhart County.”

Martin’s Supermarket donated 65,000 branded bags. Lippert Components Acts of Service coordinated volunteers at local companies who folded and staples postcards to each of the bags and the post office delivered them to all residents, Sarber said.

NIBCO raised more than 1,000 pounds to help kick the drive off.

In total, Sarber said, more than 100 volunteers worked all day Saturday to help those most in need of food in Elkhart County.

Bill Rieth, CEO of United Way of Elkhart County said, “We are thrilled with our community partners and what we have accomplished together as we have advanced the common good. It’s wonderful to live in a community that is so caring and giving.”